Love Thy Neighbor: The Immorality of Prohibition
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Love Thy Neighbor: The Immorality of Prohibition
Posted by CN Staff on July 18, 2009 at 07:32:14 PT
By Ryan Patterson, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet
USA -- While our current economic climate has prompted many Californians to look toward legalized marijuana as a solution to our near-legendary budget woes, there are those for whom the potential revenue from marijuana is no compensation for the further erosion of our morals. In their eyes, the prohibition of marijuana must continue, lest our society drown in a tidal wave of vice. But what about the morality of prohibition?
While a conceivably inexhaustible stream of revenue could be generated through the regulation of all currently illicit goods and services, few, if any, of these prohibitions has caused our society more harm in return for less good than the marijuana ban.In 2007, California law enforcement made over 74,000 marijuana arrests, 78 percent of which were for simple possession. Of those arrested, more than 16,000 were minors.Despite the powerful deterrent of arrest and prosecution, this expenditure of state resources has had little effect. In 2008, 23 percent of teenagers still report that it is easier to procure marijuana than either beer or prescription drugs.Approximately 100 million Americans, nearly one-third of the entire population and a greater proportion of adults, have consumed marijuana. Marijuana remains the No. 1 cash crop in California, surpassing all fruits and vegetables combined.Before you accuse me of cowardly surrendering a noble fight, consider what all of these arrests have succeeded in doing:* Precious law enforcement resources are diverted from investigating and preventing violent crime.* Adults who are arrested face the threat of losing their jobs, thereby depriving their families of income and security.* Our youth face the threat of expulsion from school and ineligibility for student loans.* Families are torn apart as children are removed from their homes and placed into foster care.Can a policy that perpetuates such tragedy truly be considered morally right? In light of the toll that marijuana prohibition takes on the lives of our neighbors, can we justly say "that's the price you pay?"An analysis of the goals of marijuana prohibition further erodes its tenuous moral foundation. For many, the goal of marijuana prohibition is simple: to keep people from consuming the plant.Although prohibition seems to be the clearest way to achieve this goal, this simple plan is fatally flawed. In practice, total prohibition is the total abandonment of control. Prohibition has given rise to a clandestine marketplace completely out of the government's reach, thereby increasing youth access. Drug dealers don't ask young buyers for ID.By banning distribution of marijuana anywhere, we have given up control of distribution everywhere. By limiting our responses to marijuana distribution to criminal punishment, we have failed to protect the consumer's safety through regulating the product's quality and encouraging responsible use.Most important of all, by failing to maintain a legitimate, regulated market we have given incentive to violent criminal enterprises motivated by the lucrative, unfettered profits, thereby jeopardizing the safety of all.Can such an overly simplistic policy that so frustrates important law enforcement and public concerns be morally just?The regulated legalization of marijuana should not be viewed as acquiescence to a depraved subculture, but the reclamation of control. Through regulated legalization we can control distribution. We can control its quality and potency. We can address the harms caused by its abuse through constructive treatment, rather than destructive punishment. We can usurp the power of the black market by eliminating their profits. And for those who consider marijuana consumption an immoral personal choice, we can ensure that society's response is a moral one.Source: AlterNet (US)Author:   Ryan Patterson, AlterNetPublished: July 16, 2009Copyright: 2009 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #18 posted by museman on July 20, 2009 at 10:47:28 PT
#1, well if we are going to attempt 'accurate' numbers, the establishment of 'religiosity' began somewhere around 10,000 years ago with the Sumerian Empire, but essentially you are correct that it precedes the Judeo Xtian twist.#2. The presumption that 'morality' is somehow the root of ethics, may be defined in published works of Academia (narrow, incomplete, and biased) but if there is any true relationship between the two, 'morality' is a primitive and dumbed down version of ethics. "Ethos" may have the same roots as morality, but saying that morality is somehow the 'tree' that ethics grows out of, is most certainly mistaken.The fact that the foundation of Right Behavior (ethical) and forced, dictated, and inflexible behavior (morality) is the same; a common understanding of 'right and wrong' makes it easy for the manipulation of ignorance, and has lead to the many corruptions and confusions present in modern 'interpretations' of wisdom.I draw my analogies of the 'Age of Morality' vs the 'Age of Ethics' from ancient reference that precedes about 4,000 years of deliberate deviation from the truth, that has been recently re-interpreted in modern understanding, called the Mayan Calendar. The distinction between morality and ethics, may be too fine for some minds to wrap around, yet the distinction is surely there, and is manifesting in a new layer of collective consciousness as we debate.Some cannot see the distinction between the Name of 'Jesus' and 'YSHWH' yet the distinction is glaringly present to those who bother to actually find out. (as an example)The Dumbing Down of America produces such assumptions. A lot of people think that 'relativity' of one similar object or thought to another somehow make them synonymous, and the subtleties and nuances of the difference escapes them. Critical thinking is not taught in American Education Institutions.I feel, (and I got lots of backup in various publications and documantation -as much as any to the contrary-) that the distinction is an important one, or I wouldn't bother entering into a debate on the fine lines of true definitions of terms. Communication of new thought and idea is severely limited by the attachment of the recieving minds to pet perceptions they have mistakenly been taught and that they believe, but then that is the difference between communication, and banter.As far as the corrupt state of America, that too starts at a point further back than common belief. America began with corruption, and thats the reason why corrupton has thrived while 'Liberty and Justice for All' has been a bloody, strife ridden struggle ever since. As the old consiousness of medieval values, 'morals' and assumptions fades away, the 'Now' consciousness of Ethics and open-ended non-assuming perception replaces it. We now live in the 'cusp of consciousness' where many still feel and believe that their 'mind' and/or 'brain' is consciousness, when in fact is is a backwards-looking, exist-in-the-past faculty that is way too small to actually contain the reality and substance of true consiousness. And of course, like many other corruptions of terms and meanings, the distinction and nuance escapes the many who have not yet awakened.Wake up America!FREE CANNABIS FOREVER
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on July 20, 2009 at 08:41:50 PT
Sparky is not a criminal. Sparky Rose is a political prisoner of an insane government. Sparky is being held against his will for punitive political re-education by a domineering, cruel, and unjust government body. 
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Comment #16 posted by anunlikelyally on July 20, 2009 at 06:42:12 PT:
Comment 1
Wow dude, where to begin?Firstly, religion has been dictating morality in all of its various inceptions, but most of these go back further than 2,000 years. Try 5,000. Secondly, ethics are an attempt to understand morals, and are not an ethos to live by unto themselves. They can't be, because their underlying premises lie within the morals they seek to understand.Thirdly, at least in the American context, the society does not seem to mind being told by D.C. what morals are acceptable and which are not. If they did, they would have done something about it a long time ago. See, America is no longer a republic or a "union of states", but a Federated superstate under strict central control. The "patchwork quilt" of American society is a thing of the past, and we are all girding under an imposed conformity from out-of-touch, purely delusional, and generally unsympathetic representatives of "the people's will". What each American must do is look back through the history to every single instance of the Federal government imposing its morals on us, and decide whether or not the action is justified. Personally, I don't believe any are. The ends don't justify the means; they never have, and they never will. 
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on July 19, 2009 at 19:35:31 PT
Doesn't everyone have a Sparky they know and love... if not this one? I know I do.Sparky Rose. What a cool name.
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Comment #14 posted by runruff on July 19, 2009 at 16:21:52 PT
Whoa! stop the dialoge!
Sparky was doing what he had evry right to do! It is the fascist, corrupt govenment that says Sparky was doing something criminal. The only crime here is, the wrong people are behind bars!
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on July 19, 2009 at 13:55:37 PT
Comment 2
Sparky?"Sparky Rose sits in the federal prison in Lompoc, serving a 37-month term. Law enforcement officials insist he is one of many sellers who have used the medical marijuana law as a guise for old-time drug dealing. Rose does not disagree, although he would like to think he helped some legitimate pot patients in the process."
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Comment #12 posted by John Tyler on July 19, 2009 at 11:54:53 PT
Re comment #2
"California sprouts 'green rush' from marijuana"
This article is all over the Internet, and was even printed in my local newspaper today. The value of 17 billion is sure to catch a lot of people’s attention. This is an industry whose time has come. The political types should pay attention. Support of legalization can elevate even a petty politico to a visionary political leader. Get on board with it now. You will not want to be left behind.
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Comment #11 posted by RevRayGreen on July 18, 2009 at 16:32:59 PT
this is the u-stream link
sorry for those who weren't able to get through the first dies down.....
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 16:19:06 PT
Rev.I think I want a tin foil hat and some tin foil earplugs after listening to that!
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 16:10:55 PT
Comment 3. There is something bad wrong with that recording. It's eroded with heinous zaps! It was sheer torture with headphones on. Impossible to completely listen to.Have you listened to it, Ray Green?
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 15:52:00 PT
Comment 1 Museman
Extraordinarily well said, Museman.I found "Just because you are posessed with true lawlessness, and severe lack of ethical restraint, does not indicate by any means that those of us who deliberately choose to be harmless are somehow obligated to you to fulfil your expectations of us, or to serve your interests above our own." especially moving, touching, true ... and important."Deliberately choosing to be harmless" is a beautiful way to put it.Thank you. I think I'm a little better person for reading and understanding what you're saying there.Thank you.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on July 18, 2009 at 15:40:42 PT
I don't have a treble on the speakers on this computer. The speakers are cheap but the computer was cheap.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on July 18, 2009 at 15:38:15 PT
Comment 2
Just starting to read that article.I'm thinking how a prohibitionist is taking this piece. It's probably much more than they can stand to know. More than they really need to know. More than they can handle.I find myself thinking of the famous Jack Nicholson line... but in a kinder gentler tone. They might bust something... or kill something... or someone.For a smile maybe... I thought it was funny... this version of the speech is funny ... certainly not the original from the movie... A Few Good Men. Being hollered at is scary anyway. It's meant to be. It's supposed to be. Make that person doing the hollering, right in your face, Jack Nicholson or Christopher Walken... it is amazingly alarming. But this is a funny version made by someone who dubbed in, rather well, too, different words... still hollering though... but funny.
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Comment #5 posted by RevRayGreen on July 18, 2009 at 15:18:33 PT
turn treble down/volume
I found reduced the static, then you can get thru the early sound bugs :( 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 18, 2009 at 15:14:08 PT
I tried to listen but my computer had a lot of static so I couldn't hear it very well. 
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on July 18, 2009 at 15:00:56 PT
Earlier today I made my internet radio debut.....
Cannabis Corner- video replay-embedded the video below....
debut show 7/18/09-Carl’s Cannabis Corner
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Comment #2 posted by Had Enough on July 18, 2009 at 11:28:08 PT
California sprouts 'green rush' from marijuana
California sprouts 'green rush' from marijuanaJul 18, 2:02 PM (ET)By MARCUS WOHLSEN and LISA LEFFSAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A drug deal plays out, California-style: A conservatively dressed courier drives a company-leased Smart Car to an apartment on a weekday afternoon. Erick Alvaro hands over a white paper bag to his 58-year-old customer, who inspects the bag to ensure everything he ordered over the phone is there. An eighth-ounce of organic marijuana buds for treating his seasonal allergies? Check. An eighth of a different pot strain for insomnia? Check. THC-infused lozenges and tea bags? Check and check, with a free herb-laced cookie thrown in as a thank-you gift. It's a $102 credit card transaction carried out with the practiced efficiency of a home-delivered pizza - and with just about as much legal scrutiny. More and more, having premium pot delivered to your door in California is not a crime. It is a legitimate business. Marijuana has transformed California. Since the state became the first to legalize the drug for medicinal use, the weed the federal government puts in the same category as heroin and cocaine has become a major economic force. No longer relegated to the underground, pot in California these days props up local economies, mints millionaires and feeds a thriving industry of startups designed to grow, market and distribute the drug. Based on the quantity of marijuana authorities seized last year, the crop was worth an estimated $17 billion or more, dwarfing any other sector of the state's agricultural economy. Experts say most of that marijuana is still sold as a recreational drug on the black market. But more recently the plant has put down deep financial roots in highly visible, taxpaying businesses: Stores that sell high-tech marijuana growing equipment. Pot clubs that pay rent and hire workers. Marijuana themed magazines and food products. Chains of for-profit clinics with doctors who specialize in medical marijuana recommendations.Click to see the rest…
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Comment #1 posted by museman on July 18, 2009 at 09:58:16 PT
Before you go telling me how you think you need to control me, allow me to point out the hipocrisy of your thinking.What gives you, or anyone else any more right to dictate the parameters of how I live my life?And if you can demand control of me, wouldn't it be ETHICALLY correct for me to demand the same from you?"Morality" is a code of behavior that is based on specific parameters, and interpretation, by an ancient organization, corrupted for close to 2,000 years, called 'religion.'Morality is an imposed set of standards applied without consent, dialogue, or discussion, based soley on the interpretations of cultures and societies long dead, and just as long existing almost wholly within the shadows of ignorance, fear, oppression, and deep, deep error.Each religion and 'sect' has its own form of moral interpretation, so often in contrast and contention with other -even simnilar sects- that wars, genocide, eco-rape, and the continuing perpetuation of moral stupidity, have continued unchecked for a millennia.The age of morality has passed. We are now in the early stages of the Age of Ethics.Ethics are the commonly accepted AND WELL KNOWN foundations of proper behavior in any given circumstances, and ethical application change to fit the scenario, ethics are not fixed and inflexible like morality.Morality crosses the ethical lines of behavior at almost right angles, meaning that it actually defeats the claimed purpose of 'right behavior' by labeling a host of unethical actions as being justified by 'morality.'Morality is your alcoholic, abusive father saying to you; "Don't do as I do, do as i say!"Ethics is you saying to your father, "Dad, I love you, but I got my own life to live." (morality would be to judge your father and tell him about how he's going to hell and so on)Morality is a cop, lawyer, teacher, preacher, judge, politician, king, or queen, telling everyone (except themselves) how they should be.Ethics is a human, being the best human they can be.Just because you are posessed with true lawlessness, and severe lack of ethical restraint, does not indicate by any means that those of us who deliberately choose to be harmless are somehow obligated to you to fulfil your expectations of us, or to serve your interests above our own. Your culpability and responsibility for this ongoing criminal activity you would like to further impose upon us in the false name of 'morality' is of a quantity that will never be reconciled while you still sit in your false seats of power. And those of us who are consciously agreeing to higher codes of ethical behavior than you are even capable of grasping with your alcoholic, 'religiosity' mentality, know that you are but fading shadows in the growing light of reason and ethical common sense.You are so afraid, and rightly so, for if the power replacement of ethcial cooperation, over moral imposition were to follow your own precepts of 'justice' -for example- you would all be HUNG BY THE NECK UNTIL DEAD!But fear not you ignorant slugs, forgiveness is one of the higher aspects of true ethical behavior. You won't have to answer so much to us as to your own CREATOR!Control yourself ya idiot.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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